Gideon Honore

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This pianist is badly represented on recordings, as if only one part of Gideon Honore's career was deemed worthy of documentation. That would be roughly more than a decade, beginning in 1935, augmented…
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Artist Biography by

This pianist is badly represented on recordings, as if only one part of Gideon Honore's career was deemed worthy of documentation. That would be roughly more than a decade, beginning in 1935, augmented slightly by later releases involving live recordings. Missing are the entire '20s, during which Honore helped make a roar in Chicago through his activities as both a bandleader and solo pianist. Also hard to find are examples of the pianist's musical actions following the late '40s, a period that covers the West Coast years with noted bandleader Kid Ory, as well as a stretch of several years playing with Albert Nicholas that began in the early '50s.

Honore was just as much from Louisiana as his name sounded. His family moved north to Chicago in 1921, and it was bandleader Palmer Cadiz that provided the pianist with his first professional gigs. As a bandleader in his own right in the late '20s, Honore worked at venues such as Lakewood Hall and the Huntington Hotel. His reputation spread in the next decade, and he eventually worked behind many of the important bandleaders from the area, a list that includes the miniscule Tiny Parham, the solid Jesse Stone, and the whimsical Hosea Duff. Honore also grabbed solo piano gigs whenever there was a chance, sometimes working hotels in Canada. In the 1940 he had a quartet of his own with multi-instrumentalist Darnell Howard, and in 1944 was remembered as part of a superb band led by Sidney Bechet that toured the midwest.

By the late '40s, the pianist had relocated to the West Coast, several extensive theater tours accompanying performer Helena Jester behind him. As well as the aforementioned activity with Ory, Honore gigged at the 400 Club with Teddy Buckner. Bassist Ricky Robinson was a frequent collaborator in the '60s, a period when the pianist expanded his teaching activities considerably. Robinson and Honore worked most often as a duo. The pianist's activities after 1970 are unknown.